One man died, and his would-be rescuer was injured, when flames engulfed a converted garage in the central San Fernando Valley early Sunday morning.
A neighbor who witnessed flames from across the street called 9-1-1 at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2015, to report fire in a detached garage that had been converted to living quarters behind a one story home at 14243 Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys.
The Los Angeles Fire Department arrived quickly to find the structure well involved, with intense flames threatening an occupied travel trailer parked nearby, and a row of bungalows to the north.
Aware that a person was trapped inside the burning dwelling, an adult male resident of the adjacent home had attempted to rescue him prior to the fire department's arrival, only to be forced to abandon his effort by the growing flames. Examined at the scene by LAFD responders for smoke exposure and minor burns to his arms, he was later taken by ambulance to an area hospital in good condition.
Twenty-eight firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Albert Valle confined the fire to the detached garage, extinguishing the blaze in just 13 minutes. While squelching the flames, the body of an adult male was found inside the structure. Beyond medical help, he was declared dead at the scene.
Due to fire damage, the presence of smoke alarms and their functional status at the time of the blaze could not be immediately determined. The structure was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.
Volunteers from the Mayor's Crisis Response Team responded to provide emotional support to nearby residents. Though the front home and bungalows were spared harm, damage to the travel trailer caused the two uninjured occupants of that vehicle to seek other living accommodations. An Inspector from the City's Department of Building & Safety was summoned to examine the burnt premises.
A positive identification of the dead man, as well as the cause, time and manner of his death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner - Coroner.
Property loss is still being tabulated, while the cause of the predawn fire remains under active investigation.
Dispatched Units: E39 LF39 RA39 E102 RA102 LF89 EM14 BC710 AR2 AR17
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